Music streaming app Tidal has been accused of inflating audience figures for two albums – Lemonade by Beyonce, and The Life of Pablo by Kanye West.
A Norwegian-language newspaper claims the move would have led Tidal to have paid disproportionate royalties to the singers’ record companies at the expense of other artists.
Tidal is part-owned by Jay Z. He is Beyonce’s husband and a long-term friend of Kanye West.
Tidal has denied the allegations.
“This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee [chief operating officer Lior Tibon] as an ‘Israeli intelligence officer’ and our owner as a ‘crack dealer’,” it said in a statement.
“We expect nothing less from them than this ridiculous story, lies and falsehoods.
“The information was stolen and manipulated. And we will fight these claims vigorously.”
The newspaper, Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), reported it had no information to suggest that Beyonce or Kanye West would have known their listening numbers had been faked.
Nor does it present any evidence that Jay Z himself would have been aware of the figures being altered.
But the paper’s editor-in-chief said it stood by the claims that had been published.
“We have since February tried to get comments from Tidal to our well-documented story,” said Amund Djuve.
“They have not been willing to answer detailed questions about the manipulated data.
“Tidal let the company’s American lawyers answer. And their response was that the data were stolen and manipulated by us. This is of course not true.”
Tidal had the exclusive streaming rights to both the albums in question when they first launched.
Source: BBC News